The only way our children and grandchildren will find opportunity here is if we fix the fiscal disaster that politicians have created. We need to balance the budget so we can sustainably fund necessary services, lower property taxes, and increase economic development.

 

The first step is to stop borrowing money we don’t have to pay for services we can’t afford. We need to cut any spending that is not absolutely essential, so we can focus our spending on important services like supporting those who cannot support themselves.

 

Springfield needs to stop turning its nose up at efforts to increase efficiency and decrease costs. Private industry has become tremendously more efficient and productive thanks to technological improvements, yet government continues to be stuck in the stone ages, refusing to save money for taxpayers. State government has also been artificially increasing costs for taxpayers by requiring all governments to pay the highest possible rate for public work, when paying fair market value instead would reduce costs significantly.

 

Another way to reduce costs is to address our $14 billion backlog of unpaid bills. That State of Illinois voluntarily pays as much as 12% interest on these past due bills, which has cost taxpayers over $1 billion over the past few years. This interest isn’t being paid to the nursing homes or social services that need the money; it’s paid to debt holding companies owned by retired politicians who have found yet another way to profit off the system. We need to retire this debt, and in the meantime stop voluntarily spending away taxpayer money on interest, because as rates rise this debt will become more pressing.

 

Finally, we need to dramatically reduce the number of governments in Illinois. We have more units of local government than any other state, including states two and three times our size. Consolidating governments would streamline processes, eliminate redundancies, and decrease the number of politicians with the power to levy taxes. This would lead to substantial tax savings.

 

If we can take these commonsense steps, we can stop losing families and businesses to neighboring states who long ago figured out the need for fiscal sanity and balanced budgets. For instance, all you have to do to see economic development is drive just north of the border to Kenosha. If our state finally gets its act together, we can create our own economic boom here in Illinois.

 

This means higher wages for working class people. It means opportunities for low income Illinoisans to reach the middle class and beyond. It means futures for our children and grandchildren, giving them incentive to put their roots down here instead of seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

 

It also means lower taxes for over-burdened taxpayers. Illinoisans pay among the highest taxes in the entire country, including the 2nd highest property taxes, sky-high sales taxes, and ever-increasing income taxes. With a return to fiscal responsibility, we can generate true tax relief for Illinoisans.